BJP Refuses To Support Bengal’s Name Change

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Kolkata: With the state BJP up in arms against the proposed name change of West Bengal to Bangla or Banga in Bengali and Bengal in English, the ruling Trinamool may find it impossible to push for unanimity in the state assembly, leave alone overcome its first big hurdle, Lok Sabha. The numbers simply don’t stack up without BJP’s support.

“We will oppose the move in the state assembly. The name-change exercise is redundant. There is no point wasting government’s precious time and resources deliberating on this. We do not agree with it and will make ourselves heard in every forum,” said state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, also the party’s leader in the assembly.

The BJP’s opposition does not pose an immediate challenge for the ruling party. Speaker Biman Banerjee said, “To be passed, such resolutions require a simple majority. No rule mentions these resolutions have to be passed unanimously.” Banerjee, however, is likely to meet all the parties–including BJP–in the run-up to the assembly special session that starts on August 26.

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But given the Lok Sabha’s composition and BJP’s numbers (281), arithmetically Trinamool cannot get a two-third support without it. The state BJP’s opposition and the 2019 Lok Sabha compulsions may further force its hand. But Trinamool does not seem to see any hitch at the moment. “If a state assembly resolves on an issue and it is also a state cabinet decision, the Centre usually adopts it. This is the very basic tenant of federalism. No Centre or ruling party can ignore a collective decision by a state assembly,” said MP and Trinamool vice-president Sultan Ahmed.